Recently, a "friend" of mine posted a video on FB showing bombings in Syria with a "This is happening now on our planet. WAKE UP!"
I said "Wake up and do what? Unfortunately, posting videos like this on FB, liking or even sharing them doesn't help anybody."
She wrote back saying "I DO my part and I am proud of myself."
What does she do? She volunteers at an organization helping refugee kids at a camp in Turkey. She translates their website.
This is not to detract from any good anybody does. But the remark clearly shows she is satisfied with herself. As for me, I wouldn't be satisfied until I see a permanent change in the situation, until the war has stopped. That's why the starfish story comes into the picture. But these are long-term goals, they do not give instant rewards and satisfaction. Whereas doing something simple, -while certainly being better than doing nothing, of course,- leads to our thinking we have done our part and consoles us. Lets our conscience rest in peace when it actually should not be resting in peace until there is peace in the world.
Shoshana Fine, in her article “Tolerance and Humanitarianism Will Not Solve Europe’s ‘Migration Crisis’” published in The Wire and the The Conversation says:
“We need to start thinking about migrants in terms of their rights rather than our generosity. We need think in terms of respect rather than tolerance.”
I think this is a very very important point. Whenever I write on this topic, I make it a point to stress the injustice of borders, the injustice at birth, and it being a right of everyone to move around freely on the world they are born. My posts never get shared. Perhaps, people are not ready to hear this yet. Or perhaps, they do not want to acknowledge it. Or perhaps, as even the ones who say they believe everybody should be able to go wherever they wish on the planet do not speak up or share any post related to the topic, it's simply something related to our ego.
Thinking in terms of our generosity is rewarding for the ego. If it is somebody's right, then how are we going to feel good about ourselves for giving somebody something? How are we going to pat ourselves on the shoulder and feel proud?
That's what's wrong with #RefugeesWelcome as well. People do not recognize it's everybody's right to go and live anywhere they wish, that this planet belongs to all of us and nobody has a right to block some parts of it to others just because they were born on another part. They are self-righteous, that land belongs to them, and they are generously opening up their land to refugees. To those selected ones who prove that they deserve our compassion.
Of course I'm not talking about those opening up their own houses to refugees. I believe they have a right to feel their ego's boosted. Just not the one's welcoming refugees into “their” country. After all, even though it may not be recognized as a basic human right in the political world of today,
It IS everybody's right to go and live anywhere they wish on the planet they are born.